Historic Abuse


Four Ways to Scream Your Name

Four Ways to Scream Your Name (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still….

I am a screaming child.

I am alone and in a darkness that dismantles the summer sunshine.

I am afraid.

I am terrified; his threats form raining thunderclouds in my head

I am alone; away from my family.

I am in an unfamiliar place,

I am afraid.

I am terrified as the threats pour down inside my head.

Then again…

I am old now and still alone

I am once more in an unfamiliar place

I am afraid again.

I am a rag.

The resonance of his wickedness shook my history.

The ringing of his malevolence sounds as strongly now,

The sound of it shatters my thinking as if it were this morning.

I am still in that bed,

I am a screaming seven year old boy, standing on the landing.

Without a throat, no sound possible, I am still shouting and screeching…

The scream was punched inside, my mouth gapes.

Fear succumbs to terror.

God forgive me, absolve me.

God wipe away my tears

God, give me your grace

God make me noble.

Challenge to you. Explain Christianity.


Christmas ball - Christianity

Christmas ball – Christianity (Photo credit: nabeel_yoosuf)

Why should anyone be a Christian?

What is the basic message that you would put to someone enquiring about the Christian Faith?

What are the essential pieces of information that one needs to convey the Christian faith?

Or is it something that is often socially and habitually acquired, perhaps from an early age.

Answers in comments please.a

 

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The Church needs to Change


god

god (Photo credit: the|G|™)

If the church is to survive as a purposeful and positive factor in people’s lives then it is going to have to change radically.  The superstition and sectarianism that it has depended upon for generations must come to an end if it is to offer modern society a Gospel that is relevant and believable in a new age.  Essential truths about the nature of God must be decided upon with a new approach and old interpretations that are harmful, and in many scholarly places discredited, must be rooted out.

It is true that the church has moved away from much that it once taught and it no longer gives credibility to blatant discrimination of Government and economic policies; slavery, serfdom, fear and arrogance have been rejected at last.  Though not in every case, not for everyone.  We still promote traditions that are anti-gay and the church remains an establishment that holds secrets and shuns openness and truthfulness in its dealings with finance and morality.  It is flawed and often behaves in a way that Christ would condemn.

More fundamentally the attempt to include within itself a range of extreme values that are mutually opposed has resulted in a deeply divided house,  It needs to define what it holds as true and make those values known.  The church needs to be freed from the ill-conceived idea of unity and position itself clearly with the values that Christ taught.  It is time to reject the individualistic theories and interpretations that  those who are at its extreme ends hold as ‘essential to salvation’.

The church needs to be honest and admit when it is unsure, be humble and admit that it has, and continues to get things wrong.  The Church needs to confess its sinfulness and seek forgiveness, for example; when it is harsh and when it obscures the nature of God   from the eyes and ears of the people it is called to serve, when it presents instead a vision of God that lacks compassion and accessibility.

To hold on to a God, indeed a Gospel that is excluding of many and irrelevant to most is foolish and cannot be sustained, nor should it be.  To believe that access to God is reserved to itself alone is against the word of God and extremists who promote such a view are heretical and wrong.

Holding on to privilege and establishment is contrary to the way that Christ taught us and rejecting that which it believes is embarrassing or it believes is damaging to its own survival is to also reject the God who scandalised His own people by hanging on a cross, rejected and despised.

Maybe it is time for all Christians to review what the Gospel tells us about the nature of God in our world.  Perhaps it is a time for all denominations to be humbled by the story of Christ and revisit their thinking and divest themselves of fondly held beliefs that are unhelpful and contradictory.

Re thinking the Gospel is not a novel idea, it has always been part of what we are as Church and history testifies to this, as do the writings of the New Testament themselves.  Change can be threatening but seeking a true understanding of the nature of God may demand change from each and every one of us.

I am tired of hearing the pomposity of fundamentalists in the church and the certitude of so many clerics, especially the most senior of our church.  There are those who twitter without thinking and I guess they live their lives in much the same way, but feel themselves right and justified by habitually adopting narrow thinking and by holding onto personal creeds that are far from what Christ taught us.

Somewhere in the Church of England there has to be a renaissance.  It is time for change and an abandonment of the shackles of tradition.  It is time for good people to  speak out and be heard, it is time to be open to new thinking and looking at Christ with new eyes.  It is time to cast off the bonds of slavery to the past and look seriously at what is relevant to God’s relationship with His people.

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Moving on……


Moving Day (film)

Moving Day (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Faithful followers of this blog know that MrC has poked fun at a lot of people and occasionally pointed out some really bad behaviour by others.  I am not without sin either and it is not a perfect blog by any means.

Still, defending those who are oppressed by others, exposing bullying by senior clerics, these are things we are all required to do, sinners or not, and each and everyone of us will, if we submit to to following Christ and walking the way of the Cross, offering ourselves for the betterment of others, we will all be redeemed, even Bishops and Archbishops.

We are all equal, we are all created by God and we will all be judged by Him.  How far we come to know Him here on earth and live according to His will, as best we can; indeed how far we are able to forgive, may be the deciding factor in how far we are able to live with Him in heaven.

MrC

 

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Hermits R Us.


Peter the Hermit praying at the Holy Sepulchre

Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know a lot about hermits, but I suspect that I have something in common with them, at least at times.

From time to time I need to withdraw from society and attempt to be more attuned to the whole world.  Driving out the noise of the ‘day to day’ takes practice and it doesn’t mean, for me, being in silence.  Daily chores always need doing and noise is part of that, washing, drying, cooking and cleaning, at the very least.

The hermit life that I can enter into is partly about being isolated from social interaction for a while.  More importantly it is about being mindful of the wider world, and that usually that entails being open to the suffering in the world.

Being mindful of the wider world, being more attuned to things beyond my little sphere, involves remembering the past, to some degree.

I can’t be everywhere and I can’t really get a sense of the lives of others from the news.  I can remember the places and people that I have seen in my life, and suffering has never been far away.  I use my memories to remind myself that others are suffering, or indeed laughing, in this world, in all sorts of places.

I have been helped in this exercise by working amongst many people who have had to struggle for survival and for dignity, for equality and for justice.  People who have sometimes been unsuccessful.  I have been privileged to witness these things both in the UK and in Asia.  I have seen laughter in the slums of Asia and tears of sorrow in the eyes of the very wealthy in Europe.  To retreat into these memories is to reacquaint myself with the truth of many peoples lives lived today.

In what way I am being a ‘Christian’ in this mode is uncertain.  In this mode I am isolated and The Mass doesn’t seem to belong to it.  Being part of the church when I am in Hermit mode is difficult for me to be certain of.  Being in Hermit mode seems to touch something different in me, something other than my usual experience of engaging with the local parish or the National church.

Being in isolation, being a hermit for a while, is both a blessing, a privilege and, initially at least, seems to be a selfish and remote activity.

In truth, I must be with God, and sometimes that means that I am with Him alone, sort of.

I am blessed with the richness of memory and I am also glad when I am ready to engage once again with society.  Having spent this blessed time being attuned to the wider world then my local world  seems more vibrant somehow.  Being a part time Hermit makes the words that people speak around me and the smiles on the faces of the people I encounter  more valuable and more loving, even frowns become more alive.

Lent is a blessed season.

MrC

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Parishoners come first, except on Fridays.


Deutsch: Georgisch-orthodoxer Priester in Mzch...

Image via Wikipedia

A long time ago, in the misty region of another life, I remember a new priest, about 28 he was, having served in his parish of a year meeting me and telling me that he really didn’t like the people he served.  Now that would be sad and bad enough, but his other mates who were in the same position sat down for sherry and each one of them proceeded to make the same complaint about their parishes.

I listened to this going on for about half an hour or so, out of a rare bout of politeness, and then I left the room.  I probably did tell them what I thought, but they were miserable creatures in any case who took delight in giving their opinions robustly and looking down their noses at most people.  It is no wonder they didn’t get on in the parishes.

Unfortunately it is a style of being that sticks and the moaning clergyperson is a feature of many a clergy chapter, sometimes they coagulate in a corner and it can be very difficult to get them to separate.

I know of a priest near to me who has no regard for her people whatsoever and her church is falling round her head in every sense I can imagine.  Her attitude to her few worshippers is appalling.  Her freehold status means that, unless she is offered something plumb, then they are saddled with her.  The needs of the people around her, are great and the support she has been offered is legion, but her inability to love her people leaves her, and her flock without sustenance.

I wanted to get this off my chest because I do feel that the readiness of many to complain about parishioners is often wrong.  I know what it is to have to tackle very difficult people who do their level best to undermine your good work.  I am fully conversant with the tricks and traps that are placed in the path of clergy, on occasion.  What I fail to get to grips with is the mindset that will deliberately reject the people the priests are called to serve.

I can have all the sympathy in the world for the stressed and isolated clergyperson.  I can show compassion and empathy for the priest who has lost his way.  But I find it hard to listen to people deliberately pulling down the people we serve and it is a habit that is best got out of as soon as it begins.

Apologies for the rant, and the directness of my writing, but I am miffed by some comments I have heard over the course of last week.

MrC

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Bad News Travels Furthest.


"The Sermon" from Tristram Shandy

Image via Wikipedia

I am learning a valuable lesson today.  I am writing this on Ash Wednesday.  If your intention is to get loads of people viewing your blog then DON’T POST NICE STORIES.  Today the number of people looking at the happy posting was down 50% by midday and I had lost two followers.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I am not hovering at the screen waiting eagerly for updates about follower’s n stuff, but I do keep an eye on it out of interest.

One might conclude that bad news sells.  If I rip into a Bishop or have a juicy piece of news about an Archbishop’s behaviour, the graph goes up and up and up.  Today I told a nice story about a saintly priest and it seems to be struggling to break surface!  Bad news sells, and this got me thinking.

What sort of sermons do people sit up and listen to?

I wondered if people preferred a sermon that was ‘fire and brimstone’, or uplifting and affirming’.  There must be at least two views on this amongst clergy because I have heard both of these types of sermon, and more.

So in the spirit of chasing the ratings, here is today’s ‘bad news’ story.

It was coming up to Christmas and I popped along to an evangelical parlour.  It was great, a brass band and microphones, plush seats and balcony view.  The Carols were fab and the place was toasty warm.  Then came the bloody sermon.

If you wanted a sermon to cut your throat to, this was the one.  I was a terrible sinner and was going to hell.  What amazed me at the door was the fact that the doe eyed regulars were congratulating the miscreant preacher and patting the silly sod on the back.  He almost fell backwards when I asked if he was the one who preached.  He grabbed my paw and put a big grin on his face and said oh yes; then I explained to the moron that his sermon was bloody awful and had not told us what Jesus came to say.  I reminded him that Jesus came, not to condemn the world, but that, through Him, the world might be saved.  His sycophantic groupies came to his rescue and I, and my rather embarrassed friends, left the building.

Well least-ways his ‘bad news to all men’ sermon was remembered.

MrC

As Common as Cockroaches


North-South divide between the Provinces of Ca...

Image via Wikipedia

Leaders of the Church of England are often not held to account for their behaviour and I thought that I might have blogged about this enough for now.  However I am intrigued by the responses from a few who want to emphasise legal rights as a form of remedy against these miscreants, and indeed the benefit of structures within the church as means to regulate wrongdoing.  I am intrigued because it may be an indication that there is a fair level of naivety around concerning church practice, organisation and clerical ambition.

I want to be very clear with you; I know that most of our clergy are hard-working, honest and valuable people who deserve our support at every level.  I hope that I am making this quite clear here.  However it is the deserved reputation of good people that the deliberately wicked people trade on; taking to themselves, by virtue of office, the reputation of honesty and truthfulness, goodness and selflessness whilst treating many in despicable ways.

However, this is not the point of this blog, railing against corruption in the church.  This blog is about the naivety of the people who are allied to the church when it comes to understanding the nature of the people governing that church.

When I wrote the blog, I was fully aware of the legal strictures and indeed the structures intended to regulate wrongdoing.  I wrote the blog because these things fail on a daily basis.  The appalling record of so many dioceses on employment, as an example, indicates that much is wrong in the system and this is just one example.

The culture of sweeping things under the carpet is alive and well in the Church of England.  However, it would appear that quite a few of us are utterly unaware that this is the case.  In addition to this ignorance, which we cannot be blamed for, when faced with the possibility that something may be rotten, many of us prefer to waft sweet smelling bags of disbelief under our noses and think as hard as we can of the good priests we know and have known.

In the case of some forms of scandal, senior clergy have learnt to drop the offender like a hot potato; begging the question, should the Church abandon sinners at all?  However in many other situations of potential scandal the senior clergy are willing to use financial incentives to keep things quiet; begging the question, should the Church reward wickedness?

It may be that in the end we all want things like this to go away and so nothing is done.  Life, these days, is full of bad news and cherished institutions, people and ideals are ‘exposed’ and destroyed so very often.  T.V. Programmes debunking heroes became quite an industry in the naught-ies, and now we have Newspaper Corporations, whole Police departments and politicians exposed as liars, cheats and ‘being on the take’.  Yes, I know, there are good people here too.

Living in a world like this is horrible and it may be that we have had enough and simply don’t want to expose more wickedness and certainly not in Christ’s beloved church.

The mini-principality type structure of the Church of England is a warm place for the bacteria of wickedness to grow, and it has.  Diocesan structures encourage cover up’s and personality cults, bullying and jealousies.  The behaviour of too many of our clergy is unbelievable and stories of their blatant arrogance are as common as cockroaches; if only you know where to look.

MrC

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Room with a View


Mark 2:

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

Image via Wikipedia

It was way back in the very early 60’s when I first heard the story of the friends of a very ill man who was bedridden, tearing through a roof to lower the bedridden man down into the room below and at the feet of Jesus.  This was a wanton act of vandalism that allowed these friends to get past the pressing crowds below place their bedridden friend at Christ’s feet and successfully ‘jump the queue’.

There are a few contradictions for the grown up to puzzle over in this account, and two of them I have already alluded to.

Should these friends be allowed to get away with destroying other people’s property?  Is it the ‘done thing’ to deliberately gain an advantage over others by ‘jumping the queue’?

Whatever you might think about these questions, as a child I was filled with awe and indeed impressed by the friends determination and love for their friend.

But hidden in this story was a seed, a powerful force that has developed and grown.  It has become both a thing of beauty and something that has got me into lots of trouble.  It was that Jesus thinks it is okay to break the law in particular situations.

Whether that law is a social prohibition or  a state law, be it an historic tradition or a paternal command, in some situations it appeared that it was okay with Jesus to be different.

This is a blog, and long blogs don’t get read by many today, so I need to keep this short so I am not going into the workings of my thinking here, and some of it may be flawed, but the general gist, the outline is clear I hope.  My reading of ‘Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher, in my teens, helped a lot.  Indeed the ‘conservative’ William Barclay’s complete inability to understand Fletcher also helped to focus my understanding too.

I found a lot of things about the stories we heard in Church and at ‘Sunday School’ about Jesus and Prophets and Kings very interesting, and a lot more interesting than the Janet and John stories at School, or the stories about Roderick the red pirate and Gregory the green pirate….

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The Common People


Jarvis Cocker

Image via Wikipedia

The common people, as described, somewhat lop-sidedly, by Jarvis Cocker, are getting on with their lives.  Whilst the benefit system is tightened up and the law enforcers of England reveal that their prime purpose is self preservation and the opportunist’s riot; the common people are getting on with their lives.

Along the isles of the supermarkets and hypermarkets and corner shops, the prices rise and the psychological battle to make us buy more, rages.  Along the sides of the motorways’ more vehicles  breakdown as hauliers and motorists alike journey on; taking more risks with maintenance and servicing; the common people catch the bus and pay the fare increase.

The common people continue to live and survive. This survival is repeated throughout the world, in whatever particularity of circumstance the common people live.

So why are so very many of the clergy occupied with issues that are irrelevant to the common people. Why do they play spiteful tricks on one another, building little empires?  We are the ‘Evangelicals’.  We are the Anglo-Catholicks.

We are very fed up with you actually. You are irrelevant.

The preoccupation with sexuality is irrelevant to the common people.  What is the message to us in our lives; when we need to hear about God and see Him in our midst?  The preoccupation with gender is irrelevant to us; what can you tell me about my day and my condition?

If the common people look for God, it is not in the Churches, for here there is an ambitious Archdeacon or a frightened gay Bishop and the good shepherds are suppressed.

In the churches there is judgement against the common people by hypocrites. In the churches there are legal procedures that override humanity and compassion.  In the churches there are closed doors and whispers behind them.  In the churches there is no place for the common people to get away from their lives, no new message, just more of what we experience every day.

So I ask, ‘Where is the voice of God?’

Mr C

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